Being that it’s still the Christmas season, there is a part of the Bible that is hardly adapted to the screen. After Jesus’ body is resurrected on the Sunday we know celebrate as Easter, traditionally, most movies and TV shows have finished with the resurrection. Why?
Because it’s a good way to end a story. He died on the cross. They buried Him in a tomb. On the third day, He rose and ascended to Heaven. Well, actually, that’s not the story. Some argue that Jesus went to Hell during those 48-72 hour period and fought with Satan to take the damned who have accepted his divinity with him to Heaven. It’s a nice coda but it’s hardly ever mentioned outside some churches and organizations.
And then you have story set on the Sunday afternoon after His tomb is discovered minus His body where His disciples are still arguing about what they’re going to do. They’re trying to hide from the Romans and they see Jesus who keeps appearing and disappearing. It’s not too fascinating a story as Jesus is there and then he’s not there. And they don’t see him again.
That’s it. That’s the end. Even the 2021 Oscars telecast had a better ending.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been struggling since Avengers: Endgame to find where they go next. It’s no surprise the movie coincided with the 50-year anniversary of the Moon Landing, another event that seemed redundant the more times the astronauts went back up there. Spider-Man: Far From Home was not an impressive movie. And Black Widow seemed a nice flashback but it really didn’t add much to the MCU.
WandaVision seemed to bridge that gap surprisingly, even though it had a slow start. Being shown on Disney-Plus in the format of TV sitcom tropes through the decades, it mixed meta-reference with true-life themes as it focuses on grief and mourning. It was a nice segue to what was in store next for the MCU.
But The Falcon and the Winter Soldier put the brakes on that. The series had problems, mostly with people wondering what we do next. And like most MCU productions, it had a very dull villain in Karli Morgenthau. And when it seemed they were digging through the D-list of characters with Lamar Hoskins revealing his name as Battlestar, Sebastian Shaw portraying Bucky Barnes’ reaction was probably what most people watching reacted. Stop the ride and get us off this.
Loki only answered what happened when Loki stole The Tesseract. But the series was very dull that the only highlight was an alligator version. And the big twist was that we’d have to wait until Season 2 to know more felt like a big let down that Skeletor killing He-Man in Netflix’s Masters of the Universe.
Hawkeye was probably the one character who didn’t need his own show. But we got it anyway. With a Christmas-setting theme and Hailee Steinfeld doing the same role she did in The Edge of Seventeen and Bumblebee, it was mostly filler. I don’t think Jeremy Renner is going to play Clint Barton much longer if at all. This was passing the bow to Kate Bishop (Steinfeld) in six-episodes that could’ve very easily been reduced to a 90-minute TV movie.
I don’t know if you remember by after the TV show The Incredible Hulk went off the air in the early 1980s, there was The Return of the Incredible Hulk in 1988 and The Trial of the Incredible Hulk in 1989 with the Hulk paired with Thor and Matt Murdock/Daredevil respectively. Both TV movies were intended as backdoor pilots for Thor and Daredevil.
I remember a line from The Great Muppet Caper where Dianna Rigg as fashion designer Lady Holiday says a great line, “It’s plot exposition. It has to go somewhere.” Disney-Plus has been doing that with these series mostly.
And when Warren Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) pops up, it didn’t seem all that thrilling. Yes, he had played the role in the Daredevil series, but it seemed like the law of probability as they’re running out of characters to introduce. Also, when Florence Pugh shows up as Yelena Belova at the end of the fourth episode, it wasn’t much of a surprise, considering the end-credit scene in Black Widow hinted it. Neither had the surprise of Evan Peters appearing to Wanda as her brother, Peitro.
To be honest, there weren’t any big surprises and maybe that’s because we’ve come to expect it. The series dragged on for so long that by the time it ended, it felt more like filler. And that’s been the biggest problem with the MCU over the last 10 years, some of their productions seem more involved than the others.
After the lackluster Black Widow and Eternals (which was the worst reviewed since the first two Thor movies), the MCU usually succeeds in odd installments. WandaVision was a pleasant surprise and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings mixed superheroes with martial arts and Asian mystical mythology so well, it was a joy to watch.
Hawkeye seemed more like the kitchen sink of the MCU. They’ve done so damn much as of yet, why not give Hawkeye his own show. Sharon Carter had her own series. Why not Hawkeye?
At this rate, Greg who was featured in a Captain America comic back in 1983 will probably have his own series. I’m stretching there but I would be surprised if they just start flipping through old comics and finding recurring characters to put in a series. Marvel has pretty much become Disney’s best live-action output since they disbanded their Hollywood and Touchstone production labels and they’re milking it for what it’s worth, now that Star Wars fans are upset with how things have gone. Time will tell is they’ll have great success after talking over 20th Century Fox and rebranding it 20th Century Studios.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is on track to be the biggest blockbuster of 2021 with Shang-Chi in second, so come New Year’s Eve, Disney execs will be cheering and sighing. The MCU hasn’t had this much trouble since its Paramount Pictures era.
I can almost bet the house that Yelena and Kate will appear in future MCU movies. We haven’t seen the last Avengers movie as a new group of young and old will assemble. I just hope Disney starts allowing better output than filler episodes.